This past weekend, I attended the Wisdom 2.0 Conference in San Francisco and it was such a beautiful experience to be surrounded by a compassionate and open community similar to the energy received in our mygrateful.life community. There is something to be said about having a personal connection and talking to people face-to-face.
With so many ongoing talks and practice sessions, it was hard to capture all of the wealth of wisdom shared at the conference. Today, we are sharing day one of my attendance on Friday, February 23rd. Next week, we will share the takeaways from Saturday, February 24th.
Conference discussions by speakers included using technology in a way that will benefit humanity, recognizing the attention we are giving to tech rather than the personal interactions we may be missing out on, awareness of our self and the current state of the world, compassion for ourselves and others, and working together to make a positive change.
- Embodied Leadership: Now More Than Ever—Richard Strozzi-Heckler
- Q&A: Jack Kornfield and Trudy Goodman
- Brave New Education: Transforming How Young People Learn —Crystal Lim-Lange and Greg Lim-Lange
- The Future of Children: Why Mindfulness and Social Emotional Learning Matters Now More Than Ever—Goldie Hawn
- Love and Compassion in an Age of Uncertainty—Karen May in conversation with Sharon Salzberg and Roshi Joan Halifax
- The #MeToo Movement: Silence Breakers & The Call to Action—Tarana Burke
1. Embodied Leadership: Now More Than Ever — Richard Strozzi-Heckler
Richard Strozzi-Heckler, founder and co-director of Strozzi Institute, began his talk with some reflection questions:
“How is it that it is so easy for us to poison our waters and pollute our air?”
“How is it that there’s a growing space…distance between those that have and those that don’t have?”
“How is it that so much conflict so easily now precipitates into violence?”
He contended that one of the main reasons for some of our problems is because we as humans have become out of touch with our bodies. Strozzi-Heckler continued to say that as a society our educational system and culture places a huge amount of emphasis on the capacity to think, a good thing for medicine and technology, but this can take away from the importance of feeling.
2. Q&A: Jack Kornfield and Trudy Goodman
(Trudy Goodman)… asked her grandson how (the father and son Boy Scouts camping trip) was and he said, when we were sitting around the campfire the dads were on their phones. “That’s out in nature on a camping trip and was years ago. It hasn’t gotten better.”
During a Q&A session with author, Jack Kornfield and founding teacher of InsightLA, Trudy Goodman, an attendee asked about how Jack Kornfield approached all that had been going on lately around the world. To which he responded that he couldn’t not weep. He stated that he limits the amount of news he watches because, “…We already know in 5-10 minutes a day,…we get the plot, like a Greek tragedy where you see the suffering that’s ahead and you see the causes for suffering being made in some way.”
Kornfield also mentioned how he looks for opportunities to add his voice and give support to those in the world who are vulnerable. He also tries to look at the longer vision to see that overall things are still improving in the world. There’s less war, women are treated better even though it’s still terrible in many places, less slavery, even though there is still some and there is an evolution that we’re a part of. The pendulum swings…
Two attendees brought up the concern with digital addiction and how it is taking away from the quality of life. To which Trudy Goodman shared a story about her grandson going on a Boy Scouts father and son camping trip. After returning, she asked her grandson how it was and he said, when we were sitting around the campfire the dads were on their phones. She pointed out, “That’s out in nature on a camping trip and was years ago. It hasn’t gotten better”. She brings up the work being done by Tristan Harris, founder of Center for Humane Technology and how we just need to be aware of technology and its addictive nature.
3. Brave New Education: Transforming How Young People Learn — Crystal Lim-Lange and Greg Lim-Lange
“…Tech plays an important part in how we develop in the world and our level of consciousness will define whether tech companies mine our attention for money or solve problems all around us.” — Crystal Lim-Lange
Founders of the mindset change agency, Forest Wolf, Crystal Lim-Lange and her husband, who is a clinical psychologist and senior lecturer at the University of Singapore, spoke on the research they had conducted with Singaporean students.
They noted that there is a paradoxical trend happening and in spite of the many connections students have through social media, there is still an epidemic of loneliness, stress, anxiety and a sense of helplessness and hopelessness.
Crystal Lim-Lange emphasized that tech plays an important part in how we develop in the world and our level of consciousness will define whether tech companies mine our attention for money or solve problems all around us…It’s a whole eco-system effort and we have to evolve together.
4. The Future of Children: Why Mindfulness and Social Emotional Learning Matters Now More Than Ever — Goldie Hawn
“We have issues with technology, loneliness, separation, depression. We love our phones, but they are really causing a problem and they cause a problem with parents who are not listening to their children…” — Goldie Hawn
The famous Goldie Hawn and founder/president of mindup.org, spoke about empowering children by bringing a program into schools to help them understand their brain, the importance of taking a “brain break” by breathing and focusing on the senses, as well as practicing acts of kindness and gratitude. Her organization focuses on reducing stress in the classroom so that students can focus on learning. She added that mindup.org has already trained over 250,000 people in 15+ years.
“Joy is found in some of the most amazing places and one of them is the hearts and minds of the people you connect with…It doesn’t happen online. It happens in person…let’s just start by putting away these distractions.” — Goldie Hawn
Hawn continued with this quote:
“We have issues with technology, loneliness, separation, depression. We love our phones, but they are really causing a problem and they cause a problem with parents who are not listening to their children. They’re on their phone, their children are on their phone. Where’s the love? Where is the love? Where is the connection…that when I see you laugh, I laugh…when I see you cry, I cry because I’m human. And we start taking away some of these amazing human traits. It’s the saddest thing I can possibly think of because joy is found in some of the most amazing places and one of them is the hearts and minds of the people you connect with, of your best friends, of your parents, of your siblings, of your teachers. It doesn’t happen online. It happens in person and this is when I say moms and dads, okay, let’s just start by putting away these distractions. Let’s look in each other’s eyes, let’s listen to each other…If we can’t build the understanding of compassion, love, empathy, connectivity in our children today, we’re going to lose this generation, I feel that…we’re all advocates of future generations…”
5. Love and Compassion in an Age of Uncertainty — Karen May in conversation with Sharon Salzberg and Roshi Joan Halifax
Karen May, vice president of Google’s People Development interviewed author, Sharon Salzberg and American zen buddhist teacher, Roshi Joan Halifax.Roshi Joan Halifax talked about how compassion is in some ways not completely understood in western culture as it’s been more associated with religious notions and it has sometimes been confused with the same meaning as empathy.
“Our attention has been colonized by the corporate world. It’s been colonized by our digital devices and everything coming through those devices. How do we actually cultivate quality and presence that allows more connection?…” — Roshi Joan Halifax
Halifax continued with this quote:
“Compassion involves a number of features,..including our capacity to actually attend to the experience of another. Our attention has been colonized by the corporate world. It’s been colonized by our digital devices and everything coming through those devices. How do we actually cultivate quality and presence that allows more connection?…and it also involves the component of pro-sociality…You can’t be compassionate without being pro-social. Pro-social is the opposite of anti-social. It’s about care, concern, gratitude, respect, integrity. These are all pro-social behaviors within our human experience…Compassion also involves intention and intention has to do with our capacity to be morally sensitive…to alleviate the suffering of others…Can you imagine what it would be like to actually live in a world where compassion was our baseline. This is, I think a possibility and…my hope is to see that world.”
“I think there’s something…about not condemning oneself for the pain one’s in and not feeling it’s wrong and should be different…and just recognizing this is what we feel and there’s something very important in that…” — Sharon Salzberg
Sharon Salzberg reflected on what associations came to mind in regards to human suffering.
“Weakness, or becoming overcome, compassion fatigue. Is it shameful, isolated, what does it bring up? It’s just a natural part of life…It’s about understanding this will be in and out of our lives and just as we may have trouble opening or allowing joy. If it’s our own hurt, we feel all alone, if it’s someone else’s we are taught to just tuck them away somewhere…unsightly. We are terribly alone but we don’t need to be….When we can approach our suffering and it leads us to one another, it is really profound in some way….I think there’s something…about not condemning oneself for the pain one’s in and not feeling it’s wrong and should be different…and just recognizing this is what we feel and there’s something very important in that…”
6. The #MeToo Movement: Silence Breakers & The Call to Action — Tarana Burke
“The movement is actually about supporting survivors of sexual violence and making sure they have the resources they need to find and craft a healing journey…” — Tarana Burke
Tarana Burke, founder of the #MeToo movement, social justic activist and survivor herself, talked about her intention starting the #MeToo movement in a powerful and moving interview with Wisdom 2.0 founder, Soren Gordhamer.
When the movement she was working to develop started to progress, she said,
“I was really panicked when this first went viral…my initial panic was that I’m going to be erased…this work that I’ve put in for more than a decade is going to be erased,…but an interesting thing happened…this woman posted her actual story…I said..I’ve been worried about my work being erased and my work is happening right in front of me. It’s been happening right in front of me so it was a really interesting choice I had to make…am I going to be in conflict or am I going to be in service….I have said all my life that I am in service of people…so now I have this opportunity…so that is how I have formed and operated since then…”
Tarana Burke also talked about her original vision of the #MeToo movement. She contended that it was not about targeting powerful men. It’s about people making a statement, having a space to tell their truth. Historically, sexual survivors were struggling to be heard.
She continued to talk about the two things the movement was about,
“The movement is actually about supporting survivors of sexual violence and making sure they have the resources they need to find and craft a healing journey. The second part is the millions of people who have come forward and shared their experience in sexual violence…There should be a community response to that. What laws and policies have to change? How does a culture have to shift in order to create safe spaces so people feel safe and protected? Everything…outside of that is a distraction.”
“In the history of the United States,…we have had a sustained conversation about sexual violence for about 4-months…but we’ve only just started having this conversation…those of us who have been doing this thing are like, what they’re listening to us, give us a microphone.” — Tarana Burke